Working in Campana provided me with insight into my future career path. As a student interested in Latin American Studies and working in Latin America in the future I gained ample motivation from working with FOVISEE, Weatherizers Without Borders, and the families of Campana. On the first day of work in Campana I was tasked with the extensive energy audit of Daniella and Sergio’s home. Not only was it was my first time performing an energy audit with a family, I also had to conduct the entire interview/audit in Spanish. My Spanish skills were tested throughout our trip, but the audit was perhaps my greatest challenge and achievement. Part of the audit process is to connect with the family; starting a conversation rather than simply asking the questions on the sheet was important to completing the audit in a comfortable manner for both myself and more importantly the family. I strove to communicate with the family and make a connection beyond the questions of the audit. Performing was not only a challenge of my skills but also one that took both an emotional and physical toll.
Daniela and Sergio’s home was 97 ˚-101˚F throughout the process with about 60% humidity and only two doors to ventilate the entire 2 bedroom home. The roof/ceiling meanwhile was 131 ˚ -143 ˚F, creating an oven like atmosphere inside the home; these temperatures coupled with the poor ventilation and humidity created prime conditions for mold growth. Emotionally, the audit was challenging as I had to listen as the family described their living situation and the incidents and health concerns that they have had because of their home. It was hard to see the conditions that Daniela, Sergio, and their seven children had to withstand.
For the last two days, I worked on plastering a wall on Jessica and Pablo’s home. After the audit was completed by other volunteers, it was determined that the roof and wall should be fixed. The north facing wall was covered with water repellent plaster then covered with a protectant coat of another plaster mix. Overall my experiences in Argentina affirmed by passion for Latin America and its people. I was able to develop my learn about weatherization and most importantly help families live a more comfortable life.
-Written by Oscar Medina